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WHO IS YOUR MOTHER?

Works-righteousness, Luther said, is the default mode of the human heart.

Instead of resting in God’s love and approval of me,

I am constantly building my own righteousness.

I want to have

“mother-righteousness,”

(are my children behaving well in front of others?)

“writer-righteousness,”

(are my books selling well?)

“home-maker-righteousness,”

(is my home impressively clean and beautiful?)

even “worship-righteousness.”

(Are others raising their hands in worship?

Perhaps I should too, though it is not how I usually worship.)

Who will deliver me?

In Galatians 4, Paul presents the dicey story of

Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham.

Adriaen van der Werff, 1699

He uses it as an allegory to help us understand

the difference between religion and the gospel,

or, to put it another way,

the difference between being an orphan or a true son.

It is a bit of a brain-twister, but the late John Stott, one of my great heroes,

is going to help us get it.

Stott has been credited by Keller as the founder of evangelicalism,

and by Christianity Today as the leading teacher of evangelicals.

He has a wonderful guide on Galatians:

Here is just one of the wonderful quotes from this guide:

His quote about this brain-twisting allegory in Galatians

turns the light on.

Three religions claim Abraham as their father:

Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.

But Stott says, “The real question is: who is your mother?”

Once you get this allegory,

it can truly help free you of all kinds of chains

and to live,

not for the praise of man,

but to glorify the God who loves and saves you.

This can restore the joy you once had.

Paul asks, in this chapter:

“What happened to all your joy?”

For the Galatians had reverted,

as we all do, to works-righteousness.

(We won’t get to this important passage until Wednesday,

for we must look at two extremely important truths first.)

Sunday:

1.What stands out to you from the above?

2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”)

Monday: In Christ There is No Male Nor Female

Before we dive into the very meaty Galatians 4, I don’t want to jump over this important verse for those who are often treated as lesser by cultures.

Having come to Christ as an adult, I was a bit shocked at the way women seemed to be viewed in my church, which is not, I know, how Christ viewed women, but how that Christian culture viewed women. It wasn’t true of everyone, but it was true of many in leadership and many of the women themselves. They felt women should not be in leadership except with women and children. They couldn’t be the treasurer, a worship leader, or hold any leadership role over men. I’m not going to try to tackle some of the thorny passages, but to say it is obviously complicated, for God did call women to be leaders in biblical days, including teaching men — yet, there are passages that make you think they shouldn’t teach or be in authority. So this is a paradox that I will address another time.

What I want to do today is to have you see that the Lord doesn’t see us as lesser, and to show you how Jesus consistently treated women in a culture that consistently thought of them as lesser. This is all part of helping the penny drop to our hearts on how deeply loved we are as His children.

3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women. See if you can discover how:

A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.

B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 11:38-42 to see what Jesus did.

C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27.

D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27

4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not?

Tuesday: What Happened To All Your Joy? 

I believe there are two ways to lose your joy: legalism (which Paul addresses here) and antinomianism (meaning against the law) which is addressed in other passages. Tertullion, an early church father, used this graphic picture: The gospel is continually being crucified between two thieves: legalism and antinomianism. I know I can, as David did (see Psalm 51:12) lose my joy by going against the moral law, but that when I truly repent, God will restore my joy. But if I believe that God has stopped loving me because of my sin, I have fallen off on the side of legalsim. I did nothing to earn God’s love and I can do nothing to lose it.

5. Read Galatians 4:8-20

A. What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9?

B. How does legalism or works-righteousness enslave you?

C. According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul and why?

D. What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16?

6. How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have? (Important to ponder!)

Wednesday: We Are Sons of Abraham!

I am assuming you know the story of Sarah and Hagar, but if you do not, read Genesis 16 and Genesis 18:1-15.

7. For context, read John 8:31-41.

    A. What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32? And how do they respond in verse 33?

    B. Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons?

8. Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23

    A. How many sons did Abraham have and who were their mothers?

    B. What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers?

Thursday: Who Is Your Mother?

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John Stott asks this penetrating question in his Galatian’s guide: Who is your mother? Sarah or Hagar?

9. Read Galatians 4:24-26 (The brain-twister!)

A. What covenant does Hagar’s son represent and why?

B. What covenant does Sarah’s son represent and why?

10. Go back to Galatians 3:2-3. Here Paul expresses this same truth plainly. What does he say?

11. John Stott said the real question is not who our father is (for 3 major religions claim Abraham as their father: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), but rather, who is your mother? What does he mean?

12. Who is your mother and why do you say that?

Friday: Rejoice Oh Barren Woman

In biblical culture, a barren woman carried shame, for child-bearing was how a woman found value. In the world’s culture today, beauty, youth, and power give a woman value. But we have our own artificial standards in the Christian culture as well. There may be pressure to be a “Proverbs 31 woman.” Are we amazing homemakers who are sewing our clothes, baking our bread, and working late into the night? (This is another whole study in itself, but I’ve seen how that chapter has been used to bind women in various ways, when instead, it is a picture of a beautiful composite woman — perhaps a picture of the bride of Christ.) There are other forms of legalism for Christian women that have crept insidiously into our culture: a rejection of any kind of schooling other than homeschooling, a rejection of any kind of medicine other than herbs and homeopathic remedies, and a rejection of any secular books or music. These are burdens that the culture, not Jesus, puts on us — stealing our freedom.

13. Have you experienced the slavery of artificial “Christian” standards put on you? If so, share. If not, share how you have been kept free.

14. Read Galatians 4:27. What does it say and what does it mean? Translate it to our culture.

The next passage is very interesting. John Stott explains that often our persecution comes not from the world, but from the church, because we are not living up to their self-imposed standards. It could be anything from immunizing our children to raising our hands in worship.  

15. Read Galatians 4:28-31

 A. How did the son of the slave woman (Ishmael) persecute the son of the free woman        (Isaac). What parallel is Paul making?

B. Have you ever judged a sister in Christ unfairly for not living as you feel is best, but is not prescribed by Scripture?

C. If you have felt judged by others on a non-scriptural choice, how should you respond according to Romans 14:22?

Saturday:

16. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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168 comments

  1. Sunday:
    1.What stands out to you from the above?
    The title was thought provoking because I did not know tha answer to it besides thinking about my own mother. (Smile). I knew that was not the answer. And as I read along, I got excited about what I am going to learn this week!
    The picture of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar was striking. I don’t want to be in a love triangle like that.
    The quote from John Stott. I have only heard of him but not read of any of his writings. Growing up and still a Baptist up to this point, I struggle with membership issues that require being immersed. My husband as pastor has been praying and thinking about how to work out our by-laws to involve godly men and women in the life of our church without encumbering them with this Baptist view of membership. Some of them have been part of other denominations.
    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”)
    Mine would definitely be “mother-righteousness”. How well is our daughter “performing”? And I think it carries over to the “mothering” I do elsewhere- my students, the women and children’s ministry at our church that I lead. I go back to what Francis Schafer(?) said that our faith is a moment to moment trusting in Jesus.

      1. Thank you, Dee. Praying as well. We are a small, but growing church and we see such a hunger among our congregation to be loved just as they are. Richard and I do  but we want to be firm with the non-negotiables. Such clarity on these as I continue to be a part of this blog. Thank you once again. I feel like I am born anew!

    1. Your husband’s heart is so refreshing, Bing!

  2. Sunday

    1.  What stands out to you from the above?

    So much stood out and resonated with me…

    ”Instead of resting in God’s love and approval of me, I am constantly building my own righteousness.”  Luther hits it on the head that works-righteousness is the default mode of the human heart.  The lie that keeps going around in my head is, in order for Him to really love you, you must read your Bible more, you must have a better prayer life, you must go to church and the list goes on.  I have never thought of this as being an offense to God as those things that John Stott listed are.  I’m insulting Christ who died for me and contradicting the gospel!!  I think it’s human nature to want rules to follow, to want to earn love and that’s what makes it so hard to get the gospel…we’re just not wired that way.

    2.  What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness?

    Approval-righteousness.  What can I do to be more liked, more loved etc…It seems to always come down to me,me,me!

  3. 1/2- Oh I so love the Sonship material–brings back old memories when I did this study newly married, and all of this was so new and constant light bulbs went off! It’s convicting how I still struggle with so many of the things I did then. I have been set free and yet I still have such a default tendency towards legalism.

    I pulled out my old notebook and reviewed the examples of self-righteousness. I see new ones I struggle with now-“language righteousness”, “entertainment righteousness”, “theology righteousness”….some newer ones come to mind–“books-righteousness!” and worship music righteousness. We’ve actually recently changed churches and are attending a non-denominational church, which was a stretch for me, but at the same time I felt like I heard a quiet voice saying ‘you need this’. And it has been so good, to worship with a body that does things differently, different music…and yet I know they love Jesus and He is glorified there. Sorry, tangent!

  4. note: I assumed 3B is meant to say “Luke 10:38-42” and not Luke 11. 

    3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women. See if you can discover how:

    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.

    I love this passage. Jesus sees her. He notices the woman who  thought she was hidden, He draws attention to her to give her recognition as being worthy of His healing.

    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke *10:38-42 to see what Jesus did.

    Jesus praises Mary for sitting at His feet and declares she has chosen the better thing.

    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27.

    Jesus reveals truth to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)

    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27

    Jesus approaches a Samaritan woman,and asks her for a drink of water. He recognizes her true thirst and shares with her the truth of who He is, the source of living water.

    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not?

    I do believe this is true, and that the Word clearly shows us this by how Jesus treated women. There are countless examples of Jesus publicly speaking with women, treating them with compassion and respect, honoring them as messengers of the Truth.

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above? The thing that jumps out at me is that I do not know, as a Christian, who my mother is! We talk a lot about our Father in Christian circles but not so much about a mother. Catholics believe Mary is their mother, right? Jews would view Sarah their mother and the Islam faith would claim Hagar…. but as a Christian, who is my mother? Excited to look into this as I anticipate an epiphany.

    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? O…sigh… My biggest struggle is being the Christian I want to be and pursuing that (and claiming that) instead of pursuing Christ. This, of course, manifests in all areas of my life as a “good Christian” does everything “right.” Mothering, teaching, cleaning, speaking in Bible Study, serving in music, serving in kids’ ministry, working…. This is especially prevalent in my life right now because we (until a year ago) were a part of a church that really, really hammered the “should” and would talk frequently about who was a “true Christian “ and who was not based on the “shoulds” …. it sort of gave me this gloomy cloud, always wondering who was watching and deciding I wasn’t one of the “true believers” even when I was alone…seeking Christ and resting in Him, healing has been my goal over the last year and will continue to be.

    1. Jill, I’ve never heard the claim of Islam to Hagar. Can you elaborate on that? How/where have you heard this?


  6. Once you get this allegory,
    it can truly help free you of all kinds of chains
    and to live,
    not for the praise of man,
    but to glorify the God who loves and saves you.
    This can restore the joy you once had.
    I think the default is definitely “works righteousness instead of resting in God’s approval of me”. hOW QUICKLY i CAN LOSE MY JOY WHEN i AM LIVING FOR MAN’S APPROVAL & NOT MY hEAVENLY fATHER! Whoops, sorry about the caps. If I wanted to look perfect I would redo it, but I will let it go haha.

    1. Ouch, Jenny!  I’m always afraid of being perceived as incorrect/ignorant in my grammar or spelling and I want to be PERFECT in these areas.  So I am always so careful to correct any mistakes I make in emails, etc.  I like your “If I wanted to look perfect, I would redo it, but I will let it go  haha.”  Love it!  I’ve been practicing more ‘letting it go’ in this area, knowing that the striving for perfection comes only from pride.  There is a release of stress when I allow my accidental mistakes to go, not worrying about how I will be perceived.  Sometimes, I believe we feel judged because we judge others in these same areas.  “Judge not, that you be not judged.”  I’m learning…

  7. 3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women. See if you can discover how:

    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.
    Jesus acknowledged the woman who was suffering from bleeding while He was in the way to get to the dying girl’s house.

    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 11:38-42 to see what Jesus did.
    Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and He did not reprimand her and commended Mary’s choice.

    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27.
    Jesus spoke to Martha like He knows she understands His teachings.

    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27
    Jesus spoke to a woman and she was a Samaritan on top of that. The disciples’ questions and tone of voice implied their surprise and incredulity.

    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not?
    The only way I would believe that Jesus values women as much as He values men is through the written Word. And the above biblical narratives support that He did.

    We are “sons of God” when we become saved by faith in Jesus. Legal heirs so we are of same value to God with men. Imputed righteousness is for both men and women. And the verse in Galatians 3:28 says no more Jew or Gentile ,slave or free, male and female for we are all one in Christ. The ground is level at the foot of the cross.

    I think back to our study of the Song of Songs. The book was not just for women as God’s Beloved. It is also for men. We are all called Beloved, male or female.

    And I do not want to take this verse out context in terms of its reference to judgment but Romans 2:11 says “For God does not show favoritism.”

    I love the fact that when God created Adam and Eve, He called and saw both of them as “good”. One was not better than the other. And this verse: But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. Wow! Comparable to him. Food for thought.

    “Lord Jesus, such lofty and awesome thoughts of your great love for us as women. Help us live a Jesus loved life day by day.”

    1. What a sweet thought, Bing.  “Help us live a Jesus loved life day by day.”  That sounds like a huge stress reliever.  Thank you for that prayer to remember.

       

  8. 1.  What stood out.  The balance needed between taking all comers, even those who would destroy the church, and taking only believers. How do you sort them out? Maybe we should be like Gideon and let God sort them for us. That sounds kind of cynical, but I don’t mean it that way. It is hard, because we are to be discerning. For the person involved, maybe they aren’t a believer and by gentle questioning would realize that and come to Jesus. And for the local body of Christ to maintain a community that can truly be united in the Lord. Even John the Apostle of love, talked about barring certain people from our fellowship. I have no answers on this, just lots of questions.

     

    2.  What am I vulnerable to? Mother righteousness- will my grown child mess up their life and cause me pain and embarrassment? Writer righteousness – has anyone read and responded to my posts? Homemaker righteousness – will people think I’m a good housekeeper? Or even worse, I wish the man who can’t hit the toilet wouldn’t use mine. Yeah, there is plenty of dirt within me. I ask regularly for cleansing, but it just keeps building again.

  9. Sunday: 
    1.What stands out to you from the above? 
    I love the question…who is your mother! It is both reassuring and discouraging that we all tend to revert to works righteousness…reassuring, because I’m not the only one and discouraging, because I want to be cured of this problem!!
    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”) I am prone to work-righteousness or getting affirmation from my works or being a perfectionist; to body-righteousness or being the right weight and fitness level; to education-righteousness or being viewed as being well educated and knowledgeable.

  10. 3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women. See if you can discover how: 
    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.
    In that day women with a flow of blood were considered to be unclean and were to avoid touching those who were clean. An unclean woman interrupted Jesus’ travel to go and heal the daughter of an “official of the synagogue”or an important person. But, Jesus made it a point to stop and acknowledge the fact that someone in the crowd had been healed and to acknowledge the woman and her healing.
    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 10:38-42 to see what Jesus did.
    Jesus commended Mary for choosing to be with Him and listen rather than choosing to be distracted by the busyness of the To-do list.
    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27.
    Martha expressed her faith in the deep truths of who Christ was…”Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.”
    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27 
    Jesus opened the conversation with the woman at the well…she was clearly shocked…not only was she a woman…she was a Samaritan also. All Jesus saw was someone whose heart was desperate for some answers.
    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not?
    I think I believe that. I had an earthly father who had wanted a daughter badly. Maybe because he had been taken away from his family of 2 sisters and adopted into a family with another son. But, my father valued me greatly and took me lots of places with him. We spent lots of time together and had lots of intellectual discussions and read lots of the same books. I felt equally valued as my brothers.

  11. Sunday:
     
    1.What stands out to you from the above?  – I’m interested to know where this is going to take us. I know who my earthly Mother is of course, but in biblical terms who is this mother. All the different kinds of righteousness that we can get stuck in was an eye opener. Who am I really trying to get approval from. This week is looking interesting.
     
    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”) – For me when my kids were younger I was probably seeking mother righteousness and worried that they were not behaving when away from home, but now I think I lean more toward the worship righteousness. Not so much that I’m worried about what I’m doing, but more what I’m not. Most of the congregation claps after each song but I don’t and wonder if others are thinking why isn’t she clapping. 
     

  12. 1. I know who my earthly mother was. I’m not sure about this question though.

    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”) 

     

    I’m this way with my work…

    ”teacher-righteousness”

    “is the delivery of my lesson as good as my colleagues?”

     

    I’m with Bing on the “mother-righteousness;”

    “are my children performing well in their lives?” (Failed on that one!)

     

    I probably could say “Christian-righteousness” too.

    “am I doing enough Bible study?”

     

  13. 1. What stands out to you from the above?

    Dee, I appreciate the resources you’ve been giving us with this study….Eugene Peterson, Brennan Manning, Francis Shaeffer, and now, John Stott. (I just ordered Brennan’s book Abba’s Child, and I have been listening to messages by him online, and am reading Rose Marie Miller’s book now). This stood out to me from Stott’s quote: “The only barrier to communion with God, and therefore with each other, is unbelief, a lack of saving faith in Jesus.”  I have been doing a lot of reflection….the day, the first time I ‘met’ Jesus in a real, personal way – the day He ‘stepped out of the portrait and became real’ to me. I heard an invitation addressed to a sinner, and I readily believed and accepted it, and when I met Him, I did not find a cold shoulder, crossed arms, a stern look. Instead, I found open arms, warmth, an embrace, and relief. I didn’t know much about the Christian faith and life, I didn’t speak ‘Christianese’, I could not have defined righteousness, justification, or any other complicated term. I had never yet listened to Christian radio or read any Christian books. Years later, I wonder what has happened in me that I find it difficult to connect with Him as I once did, why there are one or two ‘big sins’ that keep coming to mind that I feel He couldn’t possibly forgive me for, why I struggle to believe that He really does love me. Lord, I believe – help my unbelief! What lies have I exchanged for the truth; how much ground have I given to the enemy of my soul? What heart idols have I allowed to be my functional saviors?

    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness”)

    I also find this concept from your Sonship study about what kinds of righteousness we rely on helpful. How about “I am more knowledgeable than you”-righteousness, “I know a better way to do it”-righteousness, “I am more hardworking than you”-righteousness, and righteousness that I base on my education, morals, physical appearance. All props to hold myself up, to see myself as better than. At work, I want to be seen as smart, productive, efficient, not making errors.

      1. I agree! Susan you SO have a gift with words, and your word pictures are arresting-depthy arresting. You are also very tender and that plays into your word pictures too.

    1. Susan,

      Wondering if you have seen this book by Sally Lloyd Jones entitled Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing ?   I bought it for my grandchildren but I also bought a copy for myself and I love how she keeps the beautiful gospel at the heart of every single page.   Sally was/is in Tim Keller’s church and was surely influenced by his life-giving communication about how to apply the gospel to our every day lives.       Here is a one min. excerpt of one of her stories.       Jesus tells us to become as a little child.     This book helps me do that.

       

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvbF19bMnWI

      1. Nila, that is a WONDERFUL book. We also used that for our teens as well. We used it at dinner time and each night one of our teens read a page and we talked about it. So wonderful.

      2. Nila, I have read that book and her Jesus Storybook Bible! I also used to read them to my mom. You’re right – her writing has the gospel at its heart. I need to re-read!

  14. 3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women. See if you can discover how: 
    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.
     

    He treats the bleeding woman the same as Jarius (willing to heal for both).

     
    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 11:38-42 to see what Jesus did.
     

    Not sure here because there is no woman mentioned in these verses?

     
    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27.
     

    Martha understands His premise that anyone who believes will rest with Him in heaven.

     
    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27 
     

    He speaks to the woman at the well.

     
    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not?
     

    I do believe this. I have never felt less then men though, I was raised by a very capable, independent woman. I think women who feel that way have some sort of “chip” on their shoulder. I’m definitely not a “feminist” though! I think we have different, but equally important roles to play and when one is raised above the other then life is not balanced correctly.

      1. Thanks Dee!

        1. This is the story of Mary and Martha. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet while Martha cooks. Jesus says to Martha, in so many words, that Mary understands what’s important and Martha should learn from her.

  15. 1.What stands out to you from the above?
    I haven’t thought about “who’s your mother.” applying Sarah and Hagar allegorically. (did I say that right?). I am looking forward to what God will reveal to me through this.

    Interesting how God is using this study and Dee’s He Calls at the same time for me. 🙂 After a hard weekend and me blowing it as far as mother and wife righteousness.. (Thankfully I was pleading with God all the while which is better than when I used to go into the cleft of the rock first thing!)  God quickened me this morning (kissed) me again saying, “Come away with me my love my beautiful one and come away for behold the winter has passed the rain is over and gone.”  this is home to me for only He satisfies and this satisfies me so..for I feel like I am home.

     
    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”)
    OH MY GOODNESS! ALL! this past Saturday it was mother and wife righteousness! I blew it, but ran to Him and OH he came as both my comfort and joy yet he also, and didn’t have to, changed the direction one was going in. The other is still weighing heavy on my heart and the best thing I can do is cry out to him about it.

      1. Dee- The study is going really well. We split up into groups and the women in my group said they loved the structure of the study and that we actually get into scripture and ponder together. Also, one said she was blown away by learning about a Kiss from God..when scripture pops out at her and just in creation. She said upon driving the other morning the sun rose and was the most gorgeous sun rise. she so sensed it was a kiss from Him. I see excitement as He is opening their eyes to His love. One busy mom mentioned how she can read each chapter and do the questions and actually get through it all YET it is so rich. None of the depth is missed. Dee this is truly a masterpiece of yours.

        To take a book as hard as this, draw out the depth in not very long chapters and questions is amazing to me. He is so moving in this through you.

        They also loved how it was a book with questions at the end instead of a large workbook. They find it refreshing that there are videos but not a video to each chapter for we get more time to discover together. I have also noticed they are answering questions reflecting on themselves and their relationship with God-not others relationship with God, etc..I think we truly miss real fellowship in women’s bible studies these days. 🙂 For me so far this study with these women has been a Kiss from him.

         

    1. Love this, Rebecca ~    ….this is home to me for only He satisfies and this satisfies me so..for I feel like I am home.

  16. 3.a.  The needs of men vs the needs of women. Jesus stopped in response to one poor, older woman who quietly touched His clothes for healing, while attending to the needs of one prominent man. I had to think about this, because that man wanted healing for his daughter.

    b.  Jesus gave affirmation to Mary for sitting at his feet and learning.

    c.  Martha and Jesus have a short but profound discussion about the resurrection, and Marthat has most of it nailed from the start.

    d.  A rabbi didn’t speak directly to a woman, nor did Jewish men talk to Samaritan women, period. Maybe because Jesus knew Himself better than most men know themselves, and because He had total self control, He wasn’t afraid of interacting with women. Plenty of upright Christian men today choose not to be alone with a woman because of the negative examples of others who failed in that regard.

     

    4.  When it comes to worth before Christ, I know I am equal. He doesn’t see my gender as anything more than the tent I inhabit. But I do have certain roles in life. I am a daughter of my parents, not a son. I am a mother to my children, not a father. I am a wife, not a husband. The bible says we are to submit to one another, but He holds the husband accountable for decisions made. It is up to me to give godly counsel, urge prayer, help talk it over, and then support my husband. But he is responsible for the final decision.

    i think much the same for church. Women could well run the church. But it would emasculate the men and keep them from fulfilling their responsibilities. Would I like a little more freedom and respect in my particular church? Yes I would. And if God feels that is needed for His glory and honor, He will impress that on the church.

    1. Oh, Mary. I so loved what you are saying here. And I firmly believe that if we women run the church, we would keep our men from fulfilling their responsibilities. So I think as women, we should encourage our men to be the leaders they should be while fulfilling our roles as women. We all have our places and I am happy where I am!

      1. Thank you, Bing. Sometimes it is harder to submit and be under leadership than what it would be to lead!

  17. Monday:   3).   Jesus stopped to acknowledge the woman with bleeding, who touched His cloak. She was considered unclean but He called her “daughter” & healed her.

    Jesus explained to Martha the He was the Resurrection & the Life & He expected her to understand.

    Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well & told her He was the Messiah & the “Living water”.

    Yes, I believe that He values me as much as men. We are all equal in His eyes & He shows no favoritism. The accounts of God working thro women in the Bible show how much He values us & uses us for His glory.

     

  18. Monday

    3.  In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women.  See if you can discover how:

    A.  The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.

    Jesus’ healing power went out to a woman while on His way to help the daughter of Jairus, a leader in the synagogue.

    B.   Women were told not to sit at the feet of a rabbi. See Luke 10:38-42  to see what Jesus did. 

    He didn’t discourage Mary from sitting at His feet.  In fact He told Martha that Mary had discovered the one thing worth being concerned about.

    C.   Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27

    Jesus spoke to Martha on a deep level in regards to who He was and everyone who lives in Him and believes in Him will never die…Martha got it, she knew He was the Messiah.

    D.   A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly.  See John 4:27.

    His disciples were shocked to find Jesus talking to a woman.

    4.   Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as he values men?   Why or why not?

    I believe that He values me as much as men.  The men in my life, my father, father-in-law and husband have been good expamples in shaping how God values me as a woman.

  19. Sunday:

    1. What stands out to you from the above?
    Who is your mother, that thought or question never crossed my mind before.
    “It can truly help free you of all kinds of chains and to live, not for the praise of man, but to glorify the God who loves and saves you. This can restore the joy you once had.” Profound and very insightful.

    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”)
    Clean house, car, general appearance, if only I was skinny then……. (fill in any one of numerous blanks)

  20. 3 & 4 ~   Jesus was counter-cultural in his treatment of women.    This  minute and a half scene from The Passion of the Christ  poignantly and wordlessly depicts John 8:7, the woman caught in adultery and the pharisees ready to stone her.   Under the Mosaic law the Pharisees knew that they could “legitimately” stone her:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3ykt6pyLJ4

     

    Dee’s Book He Calls You Beautiful really helped me to embrace how our Lord honors me as a woman.

     

     

  21. 5. Read Galatians 4:8-20 A. What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9?

    He asks, now that they know God and are known by Him, how can they “turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world” and to being a slave again?

    B. How does legalism or works-righteousness enslave you?

    Legalism can (temporarily) make me feel good about myself–it gives me a standard that I can assess myself with and give myself “points” for my behavior. But as my now 12 year old son told me when he was 5, “God doesn’t use points”! As soon as I inevitably fail, I feel guilt, shame, and am robbed of joy. And if the cycle continues, I am again enslaved in it, to try harder, do better, get more “points” next time, like a gerbil on a spinning wheel.

    C. According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul and why?

    They did not scorn or despise him, but saw him as an angel.

    D. What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16?

    He asks them why they have changed their heart towards him, “What then has become of your blessedness?”

    He asks if he is now their enemy because he shared the truth of their sin with them?

    6. How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have? (Important to ponder!)

    Such a good question Dee! Just a few days ago I was listening to a Keller sermon on joy–he said that if we have an intimate relationship with God, we catch some of His attributes, including joy. He also said joy is essential to Christians, and not subject to circumstance, and it cannot be taken away. Sorrow is temporary,but joy is permanent. I had puled up this sermon because I noticed my joy had waned. I have been weary lately, tired in my journey. Keller mentioned a barrier to joy being not having a clear conscience. That struck me because I am one who carries a heavy conscience about things. I prayed and confessed some sin attitudes I knew I had been allowing to seep in, and honestly I felt freer again. In order to reignite my joy, I need to draw nearer to Him, know that I am fully known in all my sin, and fully,deeply loved, and the love He has for me is greater than all my sin. The closer I am to Him, the more I “catch” His joy.

  22. 3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women. See if you can discover how:
     
    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this. – Every issue in this passage was in healing women. The 12 year old daughter and the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus had so many people waiting for him, but he found it more important to go and heal the daughter of Jairus, and to stop and talk to the woman who touched him. He didn’t wait or think them not important, he took care of them right away.
     
    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 10:38-42 to see what Jesus did. – Jesus allowed Mary to sit at his feet to learn and encouraged Martha to do the same. To put the priority in learning instead of trying to serve.
     
    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27. – In this passage is it because he took the time to talk to Martha and explain to her how her brother will be living? 
     
    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27 – I think I just answered by question from above. Jesus took the time to speak to a woman, when most others would not.
     
    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not? – I believe Jesus does value me just as much. His Word says that the only difference between men and women is the faith they have that He is Lord and Savior. I also see in society that women are becoming just as important as men by the titles they hold and the authority they have which to me is all a gift given to us from the Lord.
     

  23. 5. Read Galatians 4:8-20
    A. What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9?
    Why are you turning to weak gods?
    Why are you being enslaved by them again?
    B. How does legalism or works-righteousness enslave you?
    My satisfaction is based on pleasing that legalistic god. If I perform well, then I am rewarded. If not, then I am punished. I am hemmed in.
    C. According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul and why?
    They welcomed him like he was an angel of God, was Jesus Christ Himself. Because he was ill?
    D. What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16?
    Am I not a blessing to you?
    Am I now an enemy because I am telling you the truth?
    6. How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have? (Important to ponder!)
    Most days, I have Jesus’ joy but I have days where I am struggling. Not the down-in-the-dumps feelings like this past fall. There is still the tendency in me to base my joy on my circumstances.
    One progress I am seeing ,though, and only by the grace of God, is that I am learning to be more in tune to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Example: I feel jealous of the seemingly happy life that somebody has on Facebook LOL and then I prayed to God to forgive me and to be grateful for what I have and then I started getting happy for the other person! My shoulders were giving me some problems and I was about to start complaining and then the Spirit reminded me that He is with me in my pain, and although the pain did not go away, I felt at peace with it.

  24. 5. Read Galatians 4:8-20 
    A. What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9? 
     

    Why do you want to go back to the way you were before you knew about God?

     
    B. How does legalism or works-righteousness enslave you? 
     

    Trying to earn favor with God will get you nowhere, just make you work harder, when he doesn’t even care about that hard work. All he cares about is that you love him.

     
    C. According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul and why?
     

    The Galatians first treated Paul as if he were an angel sent from God. They took him in and cared for him; they did not reject him.

     
    D. What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16?
     

    He asked them where is that joy he originally saw? He also asked them if he is now an enemy of theirs because he has to tell them the truth.

     

    6. How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have? (Important to ponder!)

     

    I would say I’m doing better than I was a month ago.

     

    The last three weeks of doing the Daniel fast, had everything to do with not eating as much but  putting that focus on God.  At the end of the three weeks, I looked back and thought how during that time I seem to be a much happier person. This is even when crises were going on in our lives.  I slept more, I ate less and I communion with the Lord.  I felt great at the end of the fast!  My husband did as well. And all of his cholesterol issues were taken away just from eating better.  We are going to try to keep somewhat on the fast and do better throughout the year.

    1. I will say at times when I have lost my joy, it’s usually because I’m lookong down here on earth instead of looking up to heaven where is the joy originates.

  25. 5.a.  Are you turning back to weak and miserable principles (meaning the law, I think), and do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again (were you more joyful then)?

    b. Legalism is like an addiction. It promises you’ll feel good, but it takes more and more action on your part that is delivering less and less feel good about yourself. The more you do, the more you see you ‘ought’ to do.

    c.  The Galations first treated Paul not with contempt or scorn, but with a warm welcome, as someone coming from God.

    d.  Two more questions. What has happened to all your joy? Has Paul become the enemy by pointing out the truth?

     

    6.  How is my joy? My subjective joy is colored by my baseline depression and the circumstances of my moment. BUT, under that is the truth. God is there, He loves me, He brings me songs in the night (in the darkness even of my depression), and someday when I shed this tent I will fairly explode with all the joy that He is.

  26. 5. Read Galatians 4:8-20 
    A. What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9? 
    Now that you know the God of all Grace…how can you turn back to the worthless, elementary principles of the world? Whose slave are you? 
    B. How does legalism or works-righteousness enslave you? 
    Legalism enslaves me because it always demands that I do more! 
    C. According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul and why?
    They received Paul as they would have an angel or as if Jesus himself had come to them. Paul had to stop and stay with the Galatians because he was sick…they took him in. In turn, he “became as one of them” and delivered the message of grace to them. 
    D. What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16? 
    What has become of your blessedness/satisfaction/joy? Have I now become your enemy because I am speaking the truth to you?
    6. How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have? (Important to ponder!) I’ll think on this today and ask for God to reveal the honest answer to me…but it may be that I am a Judaizer who is demanding that those around me keep the letter of the law!

  27. 3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women. See if you can discover how:

    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women. See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.

    Jairus was a synagogue ruler and his only daughter was dying. He asked Jesus to come to his house to heal her. While on the way, a woman with a bleeding disorder touched Jesus and was healed. Jesus stopped and refused to go any further until He identified the one who touched him. The woman came forward and told her story. Jesus took the time to hear her and to pronounce a blessing over her; He was not hurried or rushed because the synagogue ruler was a man or more important than this woman. He would have done the same if it had been a man who needed healing – Jesus made no distinction between male, female, or importance in society.

    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 10:38-42 to see what Jesus did.

    Jesus welcomed Mary to sit at His feet and listen to Him. He told her sister Martha that Mary had chosen what was better, when Martha was scolding that she wasn’t helping in the kitchen. Jesus didn’t “put a woman in her place”.

    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27.

    Jesus shared a deep truth about Himself with Martha, telling her that “I AM the resurrection and the life.” He told her that whoever believes in Him will live, even though he dies. He asked her if she believed this, and she said yes, that she believed He was the Christ, the Son of God. She got what a lot of men didn’t get.

    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27.

    Jesus had a private conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. His disciples were very surprised when they returned and found Him talking with her, though they didn’t question Him.

    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not?

    I have never struggled to believe that Jesus would not value me as much as a man. Year ago, a mature woman taught me how to personalize Scripture, inserting my name into passages and reading as if it were written to me, personally. I don’t see any preference or distinction made between me and say, a man. God’s Word is for all believers.

     

  28. Tuesday

    5.   Read Galatians 4:8-20

    A.   What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9?

    Why do you want to go back again to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world?  Why do you desire again to be in bondage?

    B.   How does legalism or works- righteousness enslave you?

    It takes away my dependence on and trust in God by thinking I have to jump through hoops to please Him and in doing so I become bogged down and enslaved to those hoops!

    C.    According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul and why? 

    They took him in, and cared for him as though he were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus Himself.

    D.   What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16? 

    (1) Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then?  (2) Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?

    6.   How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have? ( Important to ponder!)

    For some reason a verse from Nehemiah popped into my mind…”The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  When I think my joy comes or goes because of circumstances, then my focus is catttywampus.  James says “Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials.”  My joy comes from my relationship with the Lord and the strength He provides  through each and every circumstance.

    I will continue to ponder these questions and keep them in the forefront of my mind.

  29. 7. For context, read John 8:31-41.    A. What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32? And how do they respond in verse 33?

    He tells them they need to know the truth, and the truth will set them free. They think that because they are descendants of Abraham, their heritage means they have never been slaves. They are focused on the physical and not the spiritual, the heart.

    B. Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons?

    They are descendants by birth–but if they are set free by faith in Christ, they are adopted as sons of God.

    8. Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23    A. How many sons did Abraham have and who were their mothers?

    2 sons, one by a slave (Hagar) and one by a free woman (Sarah).

    B. What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers?

    Ishamel, born of Hagar (the slave), was born according to the flesh; Isaac, born of Sarah (the free woman) was born through promise.

    9. Read Galatians 4:24-26 (The brain-twister!) A. What covenant does Hagar’s son represent and why?

    Hagar’s son, Ishamel,-represents Mount Sinai, corresponds to the present Jerusalem, in slavery.

    B. What covenant does Sarah’s son represent and why?

    Sarah’s son Isaac represents the covenant of promise, of the new Jerusalem, freed.

    10. Go back to Galatians 3:2-3. Here Paul expresses this same truth plainly. What does he say?

    You received the Spirit by faith, not works, so do not be foolish by turning back to a works based righteousness, trying to perfect your flesh.

    11. John Stott said the real question is not who our father is (for 3 major religions claim Abraham as their father: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), but rather, who is your mother? What does he mean?

    The question is not about blood lines, but about who do we align with as our identity?… Who do we act like? Resemble? Take after? Is it a spirit of enslavement to the flesh–“act like this in order to live”, or one of freedom, resting in the Promise, the truth that sets us free.

    12. Who is your mother and why do you say that?

    Split personality? Sorry–just kidding! I know my true spiritual mother is of the Promise, set free by the Truth that nothing good is in me apart from Christ, and I cannot earn my own righteousness. But I forget. Too often, I slip back to the works mentality–wanting approval, wanting my efforts to get points for something…thank You Father for your forgiveness of my lack of faith, my lack of trust. Strengthen me to remember the balm of the Gospel, covering every bit of my weakness…so that it doesn’t matter so much if I’m appreciated here, or if I’m misunderstood…all of these little hurts are nothing compared to what You have bought for me, the Promise. Help me rest, confidently, boldly, as a Daughter of the King, fulfilled and not in need of anything more.

  30. 5. Read Galatians 4:8-20
     
    A. What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9?  – He asked how they could turn back to the ways of the world and whose slaves they want to become again.
     
    B. How does legalism or works-righteousness enslave you? – I’m not really sure on this. I know we have laws put in place to protect us but how can they protect everyone in the same way? Has our legal system gone to trying to please the underdog instead of sticking to what is right? I do try to follow the laws that are put in place, but these days the laws being set do not go along with what God expected of his creation. It’s hard to fight those in power, but I need to remember to give the situation to the Lord and seek Him for guidance on how I respond to laws. I need to remember that he will lift me up when I follow the Gospels moral code and not the law that goes against it. I need to not be afraid of the Gospel.
     
    C. According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul and why? – They accepted him, they did not scorn or despise him. Was it because he was sent by God as an angel to inform them and teach them?
     
    D. What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16? – He asked them where their blessedness went, why they left the truth of the Gospel. He also asked them if they now think he is the enemy because he is standing up for the truth and speaking the truth to them.
     
    6. How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have? (Important to ponder!) – I think my joy is somewhat diminished and I think why is what our society is doing to itself. There is so much anger and love for self. No one seems to care about what others may think or believe it is against what they believe. We have been created in God’s image, but if I don’t believe or agree with someone on something, I’m stupid or a racist. Just like them, I have been given a mind to think through issues in our society and come up with my own decision on why I think the way I do. I don’t think I begrudge anyone on their decisions, and I know I definitely do not think lesser of them because of a decision they made that is different than mine. Our own government is spewing hatred among each other. Just today I was listening to Moody Radio and one pastor brought up the abortion law that does not appear to be thinking the whole thing through and he said something that stuck with me, “it does no good to be outraged, that does not solve anything, but we need to figure out how to do more and do it in a biblical way.” If we as Christians could treat people in a biblical way, maybe we could start a new trend of lovingkindness? 
     

  31. 7.a.  Jesus tells them the truth will set them free. In the very next verse they say that not only are they Abraham’s seed or descendants, but they claim to never have been slaves. That is an outright lie, because they were slaves in Egypt, and also at various times in captivity.

    B.  Jesus agrees that they are descended from Abraham, but because they don’t respond to Jesus as Abraham would, they are not Abraham’s sons.

     

    8.a.  There were two sons. One came in the normal way, by way of a slave. The other came by promise, by way of a free woman. (Abraham had other sons, but only these two had inheritances. The others, sons of concubines after Sarah’s death, only got gifts.

    b.  The biggest difference was that Isaac was promised while Ishmael was finagled.

  32. 7. For context, read John 8:31-41. 
        A. What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32? And how do they respond in verse 33? 
     

    He says they are truly Hus disciples if they remain faithful to His teachings. If they do that, they will know the truth and the truth will set them free.

     

    They respond that have never been slaves to anyone (but weren’t they slaves in Egypt?) so they don’t understand how they can be “set free.” They act all pious because they say they are decendants of Abraham.

     

     B. Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons? 

     

    I don’t know….? I looked both up and they basically mean the same thing? Is he referring to them being descended from the slave’s (Hagar) son versus being descended from his wife (Sarah), who was a free woman?

     
    8. Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23 
        A. How many sons did Abraham have and who were their mothers? 
     

    He had two sons, one from Hagar (the slave) and one from Sarah (his wife, a free woman).

     
        B. What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers?
     

    one was a slave and one was free.

  33. Sunday:
    1.What stands out to you from the above? As a new believer, I experienced being denied communion because I was not a member of the church.  It was during a family celebration of my Grandparents 50 wedding anniversary and renewing their vows with many family members.  Several had become new Christians, myself included.  Out of respect, we didn’t take communion because of the church rules.  As a new believer on fire for God, my heart was broken.  As quoted above, I believe this is an offense to God!
    2. What kinds of righteousness are you vulnerable to rather than trusting Christ’s righteousness? (See my various forms of “works-righteousness.”) 
    I have found myself getting anxious asking myself these questions.  Am I doing what God asked?  Did I forget to do something He asked me to do?  Is He pleased with my service?  Honestly, this is ridiculous.  If I missed what He asked me to do, if my heart is right, trusting in Christ, He will tell me again.  If I forgot something, he will remind me.  As for my service, I don’t have to do everything perfect.  He is perfect.  He has served the Father perfectly so I am relieved of that burden.  When I recognize my getting anxious regarding these questions, I reject it.  I know that doesn’t come from the one who has called me.

  34. Wednesday: We Are Sons of Abraham! 
    I am assuming you know the story of Sarah and Hagar, but if you do not, read Genesis 16 and Genesis 18:1-15.
    7. For context, read John 8:31-41. 
        A. What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32? You will know the truth (Jesus) and it will set you free. And how do they respond in verse 33? Abraham is our father…and we have never been enslaved! 
        B. Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons? 
    Because of their legalism, they were like those born to Hagar.
    8. Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23 
        A. How many sons did Abraham have and who were their mothers? 
    Abraham had 2 sons…one by Sarah and one by Hagar.
        B. What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers?
    The Message says one was born through conniving and the other through faith in the promise. It was within the law for Abraham to have sex with Hagar in order to raise up an heir…but…God had a better plan. 

  35. Wednesday 

    7.  For context, read John 8:31-41

    A.  What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32?  And how do they respond in verse 33?

    You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.

    We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves to anyone.  What do you mean, You will set us free?

    B.  Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons?

    If they were Abraham’s son they would follow Abraham’s example (In Genesis 18, Abraham received the Lord’s messangers and message that Sarah would have a son).   But rather than receiving Jesus as Abraham received the message from the Lord, they seek to kill Him, Who tells them the truth.   They were doing the deeds of their father, Satan.  Genetically they were Abraham’s son but not spiritually.

    8.  Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23

    A.   How many sons did Abraham have and who are their mothers? 

    He had two sons, one from his slave wife (Hagar) and one from his freedom wife (Sarah).

    B.   What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers? 

    The son of the slave wife (Hagar) was born according to the flesh and had an ordinary birth.  The son of the free wife (Sarah) was born in fulfillment of the promise.

  36. 7. For context, read John 8:31-41.

        A. What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32? And how do they respond in verse 33?

    That the truth will make them free. They respond by saying they are not slaves, but free men already.

        B. Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons?

    Because true sons would recognize the Messiah

    8. Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23

        A. How many sons did Abraham have and who were their mothers?

    2, Ishmael and Isaac

        B. What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers?

    One was born of the flesh. Ishmael was the result of trying to make God’s promise happen. People trying through their works to get something from God.

    One was born of the promise. Isaac was born solely from a miracle of God. No one could make a 99 year old woman be able to conceive and give birth no matter how hard they tried.

    1. I meant: Their mothers were Hagar (Ishmael) and Sarah (Isaac).

  37. 7. For context, read John 8:31-41.
     
        A. What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32? And how do they respond in verse 33? – that they would know the truth and the truth would set them free. They said they were offspring of Abraham and had never been enslaved to anyone and questioned why he said “You will become free”
     
        B. Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons? – If they were truly sons of Abraham they would have the same thinking as him, but they are not following the truth that Abraham had told his sons, something got lost along the way in translation and they started hearing and doing their own thing.
     
    8. Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23
     
        A. How many sons did Abraham have and who were their mothers? – He had two sons, one from Sarah and one from Hagar
     
        B. What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers? – I know the story but I see the difference is just who their mother is. From what I see, God blessed both sons to multiply and spared their lives
     

      1. Dee was there no way out for him to have that label removed?

  38. 3.
    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women.  See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this.
     
    The woman with the issue of blood was considered unclean.  She was at the end of herself so she risked touching Jesus to receive healing.  Anyone she touched was made unclean.  Jesus did several things that affirmed this woman and her actions…1. He called her daughter, it is a term of acceptance and affection, 2. He acknowledged her healing and faith publically, 3.  When her bold action was recognized and acknowledged publicly, she trembled and Jesus told her to go in peace.
    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 11:38-42 to see what Jesus did. 
     

    Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and Martha complained to him, “Master tell Mary to help me”. Jesus pointed out that being in his presence was more beneficial than serving.  He said it wouldn’t be taken away from her.  Jesus affirmed Mary’s actions of sitting at his feet.
    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27.
     

    Martha told Jesus her brother wouldn’t have died had he been there and also whatever you ask God he will give you.  Jesus explained to her who he was.
    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27 
     
     Jesus was on a mission to find this woman while the disciples were getting lunch (vs 32 being urged to eat by the disciples, Jesus replied he had food that they didn’t know about).  He spoke to her and the disciples were astonished.  He revealed that he was the messiah to her.  Her testimony affected the whole town. Jesus sought her out specifically to bring her to salvation!
    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values you as much as He values men? Why or why not?

    Yes, God is no respecter of people.  We have different roles as men and woman but God values us the same.  In Christ, we are one and no more male and female.  God says to submit to one another.

  39. 9.a.  Ishmael, born of slavery, represents the law from Mt Sinai and the earthly Jerusalem.

    b.  Isaac, born of freedom by promise, represents the heavenly Jerusalem.

     

    10.  Paul asks: did you receive the Spirit by keeping the law, or by believing the promise?

     

    11.  I think John Stott is saying that if you rely on the law or on your own works, then your mother is the slave Hagar. But if you rely on the Promise and believe Jesus for your righteousness, then you live in freedom as a child of your mother Sarah.

     

    12.  While I often struggle with how to live out my faith, I know that I received the Spirit through faith alone. And that makes Sarah my mother.

      1. It does make sense, Dee. And as for the issue of my salvation, that was settled when I was a teenager. Whenever the devil tries to make me doubt that, I go back to remembering that I brought nothing worthwhile into that equation and God knew then everything I would ever do and accepted me with open arms anyway. But when it comes to sin, as it says in Heb 12:4, it is a struggle. When I asked the Lord about that once, He said it was for me to develop spiritual muscle. Which makes me think of the verse in Jeremiah that says if you’ve raced with men and been worn out, what will you do against horses. Maybe it is just my personality that makes me struggle where others don’t. I often think He has set me on this path so that I am equipped to help others who struggle. Right now I think of my college student mentee, who struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts.

  40. 9. Read Galatians 4:24-26 (The brain-twister!) 
    A. What covenant does Hagar’s son represent and why? 
     

    He represents the law received on Mt. Sinai. This makes them slaves to that law.

     
    B. What covenant does Sarah’s son represent and why?
     
    He represents the heavenly Jerusalem. Freedom from being a slave to the law.  
     
    10. Go back to Galatians 3:2-3. Here Paul expresses this same truth plainly. What does he say?
     
    All of us were put into slavery to the law until freed by the One who came to earth; Jesus. He calls it the “way of faith.”
     
    11. John Stott said the real question is not who our father is (for 3 major religions claim Abraham as their father: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), but rather, who is your mother? What does he mean? 
     

    I have never heard of this idea before!

     

    Are you free from the law or does it have you in shackles? Are you constantly worried about life here on earth or are you looking up in faith, knowing that He is in charge?

     
    12. Who is your mother and why do you say that?
     

    I am somewhere in between, but getting closer to my mother Sarah. I want to be descended from her! I have (over the past few years) been trying so hard to follow the way of the Lord instead of my way. I ask Him first when I need help (most of the time), I rely on Him in difficult times (instead of another human), etc. I am human though, so I mess up, but my heart is in the right place. I don’t want to be bound by the law.

  41. 9. Read Galatians 4:24-26 (The brain-twister!) 
    A. What covenant does Hagar’s son represent and why? The Mosaic Covenant or the Law because Ishmael was born out of self-effort or from a provision written into the Law whereby a couple without children could find a way to have them.
    B. What covenant does Sarah’s son represent and why? Isaac represents the New Covenant or the Covenant of the Promise…Faith Covenant as his birth required Abraham and Sarah to trust in God’s promise even when it made no sense. Isaace’s birth came after Sarah was too old for the possibility of conception…no amount of effort on her part could have conceived this child.
    10. Go back to Galatians 3:2-3. Here Paul expresses this same truth plainly. What does he say? There are 2 approaches to life…we can do life through the “works of the law” or we can do life by “the hearing of faith”. 
    11. John Stott said the real question is not who our father is (for 3 major religions claim Abraham as their father: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), but rather, who is your mother? What does he mean?
     He means we are either slaves who live a life of striving to keep the law or we are free sons who hear with faith. These are two opposing ways of being related to God…Hagar’s relationship with Abraham was not the same as Sarah’s relationship at all. 
    12. Who is your mother and why do you say that? My first thought is to say that I am a mix…One who because of the fall was Hagar’s child but because of the finished work of the cross am now Sarah’s child…BUT. Ishmael could not become Isaac no matter how much he wanted and Isaac would never be Ishmael. They were 2 very distinct sons with 2 different mothers and while they may have shared characteristics because they had the same father…they were just who they were! So, since I am born again, by a new mother, so to speak…I can no longer be Hagar’s daughter (even though I may still have some of her characteristics). I can rest in the faith that I am a free child. Love how the Message puts it “In the days of Hagar and Sarah, the child who came from faithless connivance (Ishmael) harassed the child who came – empowered by the Spirit- from the faithful promise (Isaac).” My ongoing struggles with legalism are part of the harassment and I have to expel the slave woman and her son before I come fully into my inheritance! 

    1. Lucy, I love your answer to #12. We all are in the process of being our true mother’s child and that is of Sarah! Thank you, God.

  42. 7. For context, read John 8:31-41.
        A. What does Jesus tell the Jews in verse 32? And how do they respond in verse 33?
    You will know the truth and the truth will set you free. They did not consider themselves enslaved to anything and claimed they were Abraham’s descendants.
        B. Why does Jesus call them Abraham’s descendants rather than Abraham’s sons?
    Descendants biologically but not sons spiritually to Abraham
    8. Now, turn to Galatians 4:21-23
        A. How many sons did Abraham have and who were their mothers?
    There were 2 mothers; one born by a slave woman and the other by the free woman    B. What was the difference between the sons of these two mothers?
    Those born by a slave woman is born of the flesh; those by the free woman is born of the promise
    I am so struck by what I believe are implications of these words that I blip by in the past!
    Slave-flesh
    Free-promise
    That is which of the flesh enslaves me-everything from then-my idols, my cravings, my natural man as Ishmael was born the natural way
    That is which of the promise- everything from then just speaks of the impossible but that God can do-Sarah getting pregnant at an old age as a fulfillment of the promise to Abraham

    1. Bing, I love the little bite about that which is of the flesh enslaves, and that which is of the promise is free!

       

  43. Thursday

    9.   Read Galatians 4:24-26 (The brain twister!)

    A.   What covenant does Hagar‘s son represent and why? 

    The Mosaic/Old Covenant.    He is associated with Mount Sinai where people received the law that enslaved them and now Jerusalem is just like Mount Sinai in Arabia because they live in slavery to the law.

    B.   What covenant does Sara‘s son represent and why?

    The New Covenant.  He is associated with the heavenly Jerusalem as he was born to the free woman and she is our mother.

    10.   Go back to Galatians 3:2-3. Here Paul  expresses the same truth plainly. What does he say? 

    Paul asks the question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses?”  And he answers his own question emphatically, “Of course not!”  We received the Spirit because we believed the message we heard about Christ.  Don’t go back to trying to become perfect on your own effort after staring your new lives in the Spirit.

    11.   John Stott said the real question is not who our father is ( for three major religions claim Abraham as their father;  Islam, Judaism, and Christianity),  but rather, who is your mother? What does he mean?  

    Our father may be Abraham but if your mother is Hagar you are living under the law, according to the flesh and are therefore slaves to sin.  If your mother is Sarah you are living under the New Covenant, according to the Spirit and no longer slaves to sin, but God’s own children.  

    12.   Who is your mother and why do you say that? 

    My mother is Sarah because of my faith in Jesus Christ.  I am His child as He sent the Spirit of His Son into my heart which strengthens me to live out my faith moment by moment.

  44. John Stott asks this penetrating question in his Galatian’s guide: Who is your mother? Sarah or Hagar?
    Ultimately, my mother is Sarah. This could be a question I can ask myself each day. As I am prone to sin, it behooves me to ask myself when I am at a crossroad, who is your mother, Bing? Are you in slavery or are you free? Kind of like what Sara Groves ask, how is it between us, Lord?
    9. Read Galatians 4:24-26 (The brain-twister!)
     24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;[e] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. ESV
    A.  What covenant does Hagar’s son represent and why?
    Hagar representing Mt. Sinai bearing children of slavery (Hagar was a slave) the present Jerusalem the old covenant –dependent on the do’s and don’ts 
    B.  What covenant does Sarah’s son represent and why?
    Sarah representing the Jerusalem above –she is free as Sarah was
    Isaac represented freedom
    10. Go back to Galatians 3:2-3. Here Paul expresses this same truth plainly. What does he say?
    O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh?
    We are not save through the works of the law but by hearing with faith.
    11. John Stott said the real question is not who our father is (for 3 major religions claim Abraham as their father: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), but rather, who is your mother? What does he mean?
    12. Who is your mother and why do you say that?
    Oh boy-these set of questions is really a mind twister, Dee! But here goes. My ultimate mother is Sarah since I believe that I am part of the promise to Abraham. Since I have heard by faith, I have been set free from the bondage and slavery to sin which means I was originally born of the slave woman. Ugh…rabbit trail. And because of what Jesus has done on the cross, I have been adopted into the family of faith which in the beginning would be Abraham and Sarah.
    Since I am changed from glory to glory, God is forming me to be like the first born of His family, who is Jesus Christ. So my mother is Sarah!

  45. John Stott asks this penetrating question in his Galatian’s guide: Who is your mother? Sarah or Hagar?
    Ultimately, my mother is Sarah.
    9. Read Galatians 4:24-26 (The brain-twister!)
     24 Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia;[e] she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. ESV
    A.  What covenant does Hagar’s son represent and why?
    Hagar representing Mt. Sinai bearing children of slavery (Hagar was a slave) the present Jerusalem the old covenant –dependent on the do’s and don’ts
     
    B.  What covenant does Sarah’s son represent and why?
    Sarah representing the Jerusalem above –she is free as Sarah was
    Isaac represented freedom
    10. Go back to Galatians 3:2-3. Here Paul expresses this same truth plainly. What does he say?
    O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a] the flesh?
    We are not save through the works of the law but by hearing with faith.
    11. John Stott said the real question is not who our father is (for 3 major religions claim Abraham as their father: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), but rather, who is your mother? What does he mean?
    12. Who is your mother and why do you say that?
    Oh boy-these set of questions is really a mind twister, Dee! But here goes. My ultimate mother is Sarah since I believe that I am part of the promise to Abraham. Since I have heard by faith, I have been set free from the bondage and slavery to sin which means I was originally born of the slave woman. Ugh…rabbit trail. And because of what Jesus has done on the cross, I have been adopted into the family of faith which in the beginning would be Abraham and Sarah.
    Since I am changed from glory to glory, God is forming me to be like the first born of His family, who is Jesus Christ. So my mother is Sarah!

  46. Sorry, I got a double entry above.

  47. 3. In the following passages, Jesus consistently stood against that culture’s treatment of women, see if you can discover how:

    A. The needs of men were given priority over the needs of women. See Luke 8:40-56 to see how Jesus saw this. Jesus paused in responding to Jairus’ need to address the women who had suffered from bleeding. What struck me in this passage was that he seems to have only wanted to publicly identify her in order to bless her. Even though a man, Jairus, asked for Christ’s help the child was female, seemingly worthless in that culture, but the daughter was loved by her father and by Jesus and so her life was worthy to give glory to God by receiving a miracle.

    B. Women were told not to sit at the feet of a Rabbi. See Luke 10:38-42 to see what Jesus did. Jesus not only welcomed a woman at his feet but informed the other woman that she should also choose to sit at his feet.AND Jesus implied that the gift of sitting at his feet would not be taken from her.

    C. Women were considered unable to understand deep theological truths. See John 11:21-27. Martha shows wisdom and intelligent dialogue with Christ, seeking to understand, and Christ does not rebuke her for her questions.

    D. A rabbi did not usually speak to a woman directly. See John 4:27. Not only did he speak with a woman and show concern for her spiritual well-being, but he intentionally gave her the experience so that she would be a conduit for furthering His message…so others would listen to a woman.

    4. Our culture has its own prejudices against women. But do you truly believe that Jesus values  you as much as He values men? Why or why not? My gut instinct is, “Of course, I do!”  My struggle with whether or not Christ values me has much more to do with my failures and shortcomings than the fact that I am a female. I truly do believe that God sees us each as the  individual we are.

  48. 5. Read Galatians 4:8-20.

    A. What two questions does Paul ask in verse 9?

    How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you want to be enslaved by them all over again?

    B. How does legalism or works-righteousness enslave you?

    I guess in a way, the legalistic rules, whether external moral rules or your own self-imposed expectations of yourself, like Dee mentioned above: examples: homemaker-righteousness or mother-righteousness – they become your “gods” that you must serve to please. It becomes a slavish relationship in which these legalistic rules and expectations are like a taskmaster over you; you may get some praise for doing a good job, or the “whip” if you fail.

    C. According to verse 14, how did the Galatians first treat Paul, and why?

    Apparently, Paul had some kind of an illness when he was with the Galatians, and it wasn’t easy for them – perhaps they were physically taking care of Paul. Yet, they did not treat him with contempt or scorn, but welcomed him as if he were Jesus Christ Himself. They were joy-filled at that time.

    D. What two questions does he ask in verses 15 and 16?

    What has happened to all your joy? Am I now your enemy because I am telling you the truth?

    6. How would you assess your joy? If you have lost it, why do you think you have?

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I don’t feel that I have the joy that I should have (in the Lord). While I would deny being a legalist (I’ve actually always had an ‘attitude’ about authority), I frequently feel unsure of my standing before God. I feel I lose some of His love and approval when I sin. My idols steal my joy because they cannot deliver what I want from them, and when they are threatened or taken away, I feel sad. Another reason is that I want to deny the reality that life here on earth is hard and painful, and I need to stop resisting that truth (I learned this from the teaching of Leslie Vernick). Some could be from teaching I’ve had in the past which left me feeling hopeless about every measuring up. (That’s the story of the Bible study I was in where we had an extensive list of things we had to check if we were either outright sinning or displeasing God, and I had 87 items on the list checked. I found it harder and harder to pray because I’d look at that list and figure what’s the use, God isn’t going to listen to me anymore with all of those things that I need to fix!). The book by Rose Marie Miller is turning on so many lights for me. For example, a conversation she had with a woman who told Rose Marie that she was an angry person and what could she do about it? Rose Marie simply told her to accept Christ’s righteousness as her own. I am getting glimpses of what this means, the difference between our active righteousness and passive righteousness, then it slips away, but I keep reading and learning and pondering.

    1. susan…I can so identify with getting glimpses of what this means but then having it slip away! I found a note I had written over a year ago that could easily have been written this week on the same topic…so God has not given up on trying to get His message through to me!

      1. I like how Rebecca says we must keep massaging the truth in!